SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 23 - 5 Feb 2017 (14.00 UK)
1 - 1 Torino
Belotti 11 (T), Pucciarelli 45+1 (E)
Stadio Carlo Castellani

Andrea Belotti’s early volley was cancelled out with the aid of a puddle and Iago Falque’s penalty was saved in a 1-1 draw at Empoli.

Confidence was shaken by recent results for both sides, as Empoli were flattened 4-1 by fellow relegation battlers Crotone, while Toro had one win since early December. Federico Barba was the only absentee for the hosts, but the Granata missed Carlao, Luca Rossettini, Maxi Lopez, Cristian Molinaro, Danilo Avelar and Davide Zappacosta.

Torino had never won a Serie A match in Empoli, coming away with just five draws (four of them goalless) and two defeats in March 1987 and May 2016.

Vincent Laurini’s diving header was over the bar from an early corner, but Torino broke the deadlock when an Adem Ljajic free kick was lifted over the top and Andrea Belotti at full stretch volleyed it on to the underside of the bar, bouncing in. It was an unstoppable finish from Il Gallo.

Going from bad to worse, Empoli also lost Costa to injury and had to introduce Uros Cosic.

Levan Mchedlidze almost scored a spectacular equaliser, his overhead kick whistling just wide with Joe Hart rooted to the spot.

Arlind Ajeti made his Torino debut and it almost ended in a very bad way, because he was accidentally kicked in the head by Empoli debutant Omar El Kaddouri’s scissor-kick volley.

On the very stroke of half-time, Empoli took advantage of the terrible conditions to equalise. An Ajeti back-pass got stuck in a puddle and Manuel Pucciarelli was quicker to react than Hart, pouncing on the loose ball.

Ljajic went on a remarkable mazy run past four defenders before he was tripped by Giuseppe Bellusci. Iago Falque saw the penalty well saved by Lukasz Skorupski to keep them level, confirming all three of Toro’s strikers have missed at least one spot-kick this season. It was also Skorupski’s second save on the campaign.

Empoli were still well in it and El Kaddouri set up Mchedlidze to fire inches wide, while Juan Manuel Iturbe’s effort was well saved.

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: Skorupski; Laurini, Bellusci, Costa (Cosic 12), Pasqual (Dimarco 90); Krunic, Diousse, Croce; El Kaddouri (Zajc 79); Mchedlidze, Pucciarelli
Torino: Hart; De Silvestri, Ajeti, Moretti, Barreca; Benassi, Valdifiori (Lukic 82), Baselli (Obi 69); Falque (Iturbe 74), Belotti, Ljajic
Ref: Di Bello

Saved penalty: Falque 55 (T)